Gaming Market in MENA Reaches $5 Billion A Year Surpassing Atlantic City and Nevada And Behind Tokyo-Seoul

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The ‘Dubai Programme for Gaming 2033,’ launched in 2023, aims to position the emirate among the top ten global gaming cities. Image: Shutterstock
The ‘Dubai Programme for Gaming 2033’, launched in 2023 to position the emirate among the top ten global gaming cities, aims to create 30,000 new jobs in the gaming sector, contributing $1 billion to the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) by 2033.
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The UAE government’s big push to further develop the sector to attract more and more international companies to the country, helping it to achieve the target of creating 30,000 jobs in the sector sooner than 2033

Dubai’s giant strides in innovation and technology is set to make it a global gaming hub in 2024, amidst projections of the gaming market in MENA reaching $5 billion by the turn of the year, industry experts said.

The UAE government’s big push to further develop the sector, developing advanced infrastructure and training centres to support the industry’s growth will attract more and more international companies to the country, helping it to achieve the target of creating 30,000 jobs in the sector sooner than later, they said.

The ‘Dubai Programme for Gaming 2033’, launched in 2023 to position the emirate among the top ten global gaming cities, aims to create 30,000 new jobs in the gaming sector, contributing $1 billion to the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) by 2033.

“Based on the case of the development of our company, we can prove the trend of growth of the gaming industry in Dubai,” Vlad Belyanin, co-founder and CPO of True Gamers, a leading international esports lounge network, told Arabian Business.

“In just six months in the market, our team has grown by 230 percent. We have seen firsthand how Dubai’s gaming infrastructure is evolving,” he said.

Belyanin said as the UAE government remains focused on the development of the gaming sector, more and more international companies and startups will be opening their offices and investing in growth in the region.

“I believe that through these efforts, the 30,000 jobs target will be reached much sooner.”

The projected surge in Dubai – and also in the UAE – comes amidst anticipation of the gaming industry gaining further momentum globally with new game releases, innovations in mobile gaming, a resurgence in in-app purchases, and advancements in cloud gaming as it enters 2024.

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Dubai Programme for Gaming 2033

Developing advanced infrastructure to grow gaming culture

Industry insiders said the UAE government’s continued investments in gaming infrastructure will also contribute to the growth of gaming culture in the UAE.

More accessible and developed infrastructure, including gaming centers, eSports arenas, and training centers, will attract more people to gaming and enable them to thrive in this field, leading to emergence of many professional gamers in the country, they said.

Along with the government initiatives, several world-class universities in the country have also chipped in by introducing dedicated gaming programmes to promote the sector.

“The [Dubai] city’s ambitious expansion plans, strategic partnerships, and unwavering support from the UAE government position it as a leading force in the global gaming landscape,” a Dubai-based management consultant, who wished not to be identified, told Arabian Business.

“Based on the forecasts for 2024, it can be concluded that gaming culture will continue to develop actively in the UAE, providing young people with new opportunities and paving the way for a professional career in esports,” he added.

Belyanin said encouraged by the government support, True Gamers has set a goal to create a non-professional gaming community in the UAE.

“Our company already holds a minimum of two tournaments for non-professionals every week, and our plan for 2024 is to have eight daily tournaments,” the True Gamers’ co-founder said.

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Vlad Belyanin, co-founder and CPO of True Gamers

Industry insiders said increasing the number of tournaments for non-professionals and focusing on youth engagement will play a crucial role in fostering the growth of gaming culture in Dubai – and also across the UAE – In 2024.

Creating an eSports society will allow young people to develop and succeed in gaming, opening up new opportunities for career growth, they said.

2023 – A year of triumph for gaming industry in Dubai, MENA

In 2023, the gaming industry in Dubai and the broader MENA region soared to unprecedented heights, marking a transformative year of exceptional growth and expansion.

Last year’s remarkable progress, industry insiders said, laid the groundwork for an even brighter future in 2024.

The strong market growth is attributed to factors such as game developers expanding their network, bringing new features to interest their players, and entering into new partnerships to further the popularity of the gaming sport in the region.

For instance, True Gamers opened five new clubs in prime Dubai locations, including Dubai Mall, International City Pavilion, Damac Hills, Blue Waters, and Villa Nova, with a unique gaming atmosphere created with the help of mobile interior solutions and robot dogs, which is said to have propelled the company to the forefront of the Middle East’s gaming scene.

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True Gamers plans to further expand its presence by opening four new clubs in strategic locations in Dubai

“True Gamers is not resting on its laurels. In 2024, the company plans to expand its footprint further, opening four new clubs in strategic locations across Dubai – Dubai Mall Big, Internet Media City, JBR, and Al Qasr Madinat Jumeirah,” said Anton Vasilienko, co-founder and CEO at True Gamers.

The company has also set its sights on expanding into neighbouring emirates such as Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, besides into MENA regions, tapping into the growing gaming communities and market potential.

Many other players in the sector are also said to have either been in the midst of expanding or currently in the process of finalising their plans to expand in the region.

To support their ambitious growth plans in the region, companies are also actively recruiting and training teams of passionate gamers and experienced managers to deliver exceptional gaming experiences to players.

Industry players, however, said the UAE government should also work with the new generation to help them build professional careers in gaming.

“The main goal of the UAE in the coming years should be to create a gaming culture. It is necessary to work with the generation that will be able to build a professional career in eSports starting from 2030,” Vasilienko said.

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